Blog by Toby Welch

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How to Keep Editors Happy, Part 2

Here are even more ways to stay on an editor’s good side:

- Never, never, never mention how much your mother or your best friend loves your work.

- If an editor rejects your story or pitch, say thanks and move on. Do not try to convince the editor to change his mind.

- Avoid being cutesy. Letters with animal stickers and manuscripts tied with ribbons and fake flowers won’t win you any points. Do you think John Grisham submits his manuscripts to his editor adorned with heart stickers? Doubtful!

- A brief e-mail or note are acceptable methods to use to follow up on a submission after a reasonable time frame. Never call an editor to check on a submission unless they specified that it was fine to do so. It is vital you be persistent without being pushy and there is a very fine line between the two.

- When it comes to deadlines, never allow yourself to think they are negotiable. When an editor gives you a deadline, write it in permanent marker on your calendar and consider it as solid as if you’d chiseled it in stone. Only a life or death circumstance should have you approaching an editor for an extension. If the unthinkable has happened and you know you won’t make your deadline, let the editor know immediately; do not wait until the day the piece is due.

- Don’t whine or complain to an editor. They don’t want to hear about your unsympathetic spouse, the technological difficulties you are having, or the outrageous car repair bill you have. They have enough of their own issues to deal with.

- Double check your sources and triple check your facts before sending in any material. Make sure every name is spelled correctly and that information is accurate.

- Never try to pass off a promotional piece of writing as an article. Editors can see right through your attempts and will not be impressed.

- Spend as much time and energy on query letters as you spend on articles and stories.

- Don’t skimp on research. Find the answers to those tough questions. Dig until you unearth little-known statistics. Err on the side of doing too much research versus not enough to ensure you end up with a well-rounded article or story.

- Never promise something you can’t deliver. If the editor wants a particular picture, a specific source included in an article, or a piece done by a certain day, don’t commit to it unless you are 100% certain you can follow through. It is essential that editors know you are reliable.

Keeping your editors happy will pay off big time!